Amitabh & Rakhee’s ‘Kabhie Kabhie’ Was Inspired By This Unfinished Love Story

‘Main pal do pal ka shayar hun, pal do pal meri kahani hai’, as Amitabh Bachchan’s screen character ‘Amit Malhotra’ sang these verses penned by Sahir Ludhivani, many a young man in the audience imagined himself to be him.

The year 1976. The film Yash Chopra’s ode to love, loss and longing, Kabhie Kabhie. Yes, 43 years ago, on this day, this multi-starrer of Waheeda Rahman, Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Rakhee, Neetu Singh and Rishi Kapoor hit screens.

The two-generational love story of a couple who meet, fall in love, and the inevitable – are separated. So as the poet Amit loses the love of his life, Pooja, played by Rakhee who marries an architect, Vijay, a man chosen by her parents – played by Shashi Kapoor.

In the mean time, Amit returns home, gives up his love for poetry, takes up the family business and marries Anjali, played by Waheeda Rahman. But, the twist in the tale – Anjali has a daughter, Pinky – out of wedlock, whom she has given up for adoption.

Years later, Pinky, who grows up to be Neetu Singh meets a young man, Vicky – Rishi Kapoor. The obvious happens, they fall in love and plan to get married.

Now, however, the twists get even knottier. Pinky learns of her adoption, and goes in pursuit of her birth mother, who acknowledges her, but keeps her identity hidden from her husband Amit.

But that’s not the only emotional entanglement. Pinky’s boyfriend Vicky is bring pursued by Amit and Anjali’s daughter Sweety, as well. And then the other upheaval, Vicky’s mother is none other than Amit’s long lost love Pooja.

So, there you have it, as the couple face each other once again, there are answers to be given to their spouses and children. But the one dialogue, amongst many, which stayed with me is when the cynical Amit questions his ex-lover’s husband Vijay, how he would feel if he encountered his wife’s love from the past. ‘Nothing for me to do, my wife is beautiful, she would have had people in love with her’, is the answer the die-hard romantic Vijay gives back to the hardened Amit.

The Amit-Pooja love story in Kabhie Kabhie was inspired by the true story of lyricist Sahir Ludhivanvi’s and his unfulfilled relationship with Amrita Pritam. In Sahir’s nazm Kabhie Kabhie, Yash Chopra found the title and story of his film. Kabhie Kabhie, in a way, changed the style of narration of on-screen love stories.

This was Yash Chopra’s second film with Amitabh Bachchan – a risk for the actor, as he had just stoked the angry young man flame with Deewar and Sholay. The real hero of the film, however, were the verses of Sahir, which though autobiographical – struck a chord with all.

And a bit of trivia here, Amitabh Bachchan’s parents, poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan, played parents to Rakhee in the film. They are seen giving the bride away in the kanyadaan scene. The film which was shot in Srinagar had the cast taking their families along, and off-set revelry can sometimes translate on set too, can’t it?!

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